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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mystery Shopping

Mystery shopping is a tool used by market research companies to measure quality of retail service or gather specific information about products and services. Mystery shoppers posing as normal customers perform specific tasks -- such as purchasing a product, asking questions, registering complaints or behaving in a certain way -- and then provide detailed reports or feedback about their experiences.

Mystery Shopping can help supplement your family's income or at least give you a "night out" if you are shopping a restaurant. Typically companies pay within 45 days of completing the assignment. Most companies do not charge you to anything to be a shopper, however if you shop a restaurant or store you will likely have to pay for something up front and then you are reimbursed after you submit your report. Some companies pay you a "fee" others only reimburse you for your expenses - so it's like getting a free meal, fuel, or whatever. Some companies require that you buy something and then return.

When you "work" for mystery shopping companies you are not an employee - you are an independent contractor. You are able to deduct mileage and any non-reimbursed expenses. Talk to your tax adviser if you have questions.

NEVER pay a company to put you on a list of shoppers. You will in most cases have to pay up front for something during the shopping trip but if you are shopping for a reputable company you will get reimbursed according to your agreement.

I do recommend becoming a Certified Mystery Shopper. There are a lot of companies that either require it or give preference to certified shoppers.

Become a Certified Shopper by visiting MSPA The details for becoming certified are on listed there. To become a Silver Level Shopper you take an online test. There is a fee of $15.00 that can be paid with Paypal. The test is pretty easy, your read from an online handbook and then take a portion of the test after each session, it takes about 45 minutes.

Here is a company to check out now:

DSG Associates, Inc. is a Mystery Shopping Company located in Southern California. We offer mystery shopping assignments in restaurants, retail locations, financial institutions and more, depending on your geographic area! If you qualify and successfully complete the reports, you can receive anywhere from $5-$75 per assignment. DSG is a Charter Member of the MSPA and a proud member of the Better Business Bureau. If you are interested in learning more about our mystery shop opportunities in your area please call us at 800-462-8765, visit us at , or email us at

Thanks and we hope to hear from you soon!

Chris Olson

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I have complied a list on Pinching Your Pennies of mystery shop companies. PYP assumes no liability in anything offered by these companies. The list is for your own personal reference.



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